Friday, February 15, 2019

Adam Lau in The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

The many faces of Adam Lau! Pictured: Lau as Ferrando in Il trovatore, both in rehearsal and in performance; Lau as Makoto Kobayashi, and Lau as The Speaker in The Magic Flute. Philip Newton photos

By Samantha Newland 

For The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, Seattle Opera is proud to welcome back Adam Lau, who performed in The Magic Flute (2017) last season, and in the world premiere of An American Dream (2015). The San Francisco native will practically be a local by the opening of (R)evolution, following his performances as Ferrando in Seattle Opera’s Il Trovatore last month. In (R)evolution, Lau sings the role of Kōbun Chino Otogawa, a Japanese Zen priest who was Jobs’ mentor in life and BuddhismKōbun works to guide egocentric Jobs in balancing business and well-being.

“He nurtured so many people, most famously Steve Jobs," Lau said. "He had a pretty dry sense of humor, which you get a lot of in the opera,” Lau says of his character. “His delivery is dry and direct, similar to Zen Buddhism: it cuts through the noise and goes to the heart of the matter."

Kōbun Chino Otogawa, left. In 1991, Otogawa presided over the marriage of Jobs and Laurene Powell.

Lau also reflected on Kōbun's role as a father-figure. The opera explores Jobs’ feelings of abandonment and fractured identity due to his biological parents' putting him up for adoption. In the opera, the audience sees Jobs' search for a leader and for structure in his life, which adds humanity to a character often seen as robotic.

“Jobs was searching for fathers throughout his entire life, but in the end, he sort of became a father to us allin the way he made us think. He had the foresight to gift us with something before we even knew we wanted it. I think this gave him peace, made him whole. He pulled us into the future,” Lau said.

The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs plays Feb. 23-March 23, 2019 at McCaw Hall. Learn more about this opera on our Spotlight Guide.